If you need a team this March, this is it…

After decades of relative insignificance and mediocrity, Furman basketball punched its ticket to the NCAA tournament by winning the Southern Conference Championship in Asheville last weekend. Their last tournament appearance was 43 years ago. I was 12.

This team is already getting national attention, and it has what it takes to surprise a first-round opponent and then perhaps battle their way into the sweet 16. Here’s the short history and what you’ll want to know while you enjoy the ride.


Where is Furman? Greenville, SC. One of the most beautiful campuses there is.

What is a Paladin: A knight renowned for heroism and chivalry.

The cheer: When we are happy or upset, you will sometimes hear us yelling our school initials. We’re just really proud of Furman University, that’s all. Yeah.


In the 70s, I watched in person as Furman traveled to beat NC State and UNC in the same weekend. Those were the old glory days, but the program’s success declined and they could never seem to gain any traction.

When Niko Medved was hired in 2013, his direction and leadership began to bring Furman basketball back into relevance. But as often happens with smaller schools, the successful coaches typically get gobbled up by the bigger programs that can offer more of that green paper everyone loves so much. In 2017 Niko moved on and one of Niko’s assistants, Bob Richey, was handed the reigns.

The first time I heard Bob Richey speak I knew he had the tools to be successful. There’s a charisma and energy about him that is inspiring. Under his leadership the Paladins boast a 111-46 record, a welcome change from where the program had previously been. But Bob’s leadership is about more than basketball wins, it is about life, and shaping the people on this team into men.

Last season was one of Furman’s best. After decades of missing out, they claimed a spot in the conference championship game against Chattanooga, and were ahead with only a few seconds remaining, ready to begin the celebration. But they were forced to watch in disbelief when an off-balance, prayer of a 3-point shot fell in to end the game, and their hopes for the NCAA tournament. I was heartbroken as a fan, but more so for them. I had seen the work they had put in.

Jalen Slawson and Mike Bothwell, each with a final year of eligibility, could have left Furman to play most anywhere in the country.

Head coach Bob Richey, now with plenty of coaching credibility and an offer from an SEC school, could’ve left as well. But Bob said he needed to stay. Bothwell and Slawson stayed too. They stayed to finish what they started, and Furman fans will never, ever be able to thank them enough.

Now they’ve broken the curse and have earned their way into the big dance. At this point they have nothing to lose, which will be to their advantage. If they can play loose and have fun, look out. They could sneak into the Sweet 16 with most of America cheering them on as the Cinderella they deserve to be.

The first game will be March 16 against Virginia in Orlando, FL. I’m moving heaven and earth to get there.

This team is special. We’d love to have you cheering us on.




#ncaa #basketball

Still in the Game!

Annnd we’re BACK for season 15/16 of #AmericanNinjaWarrior! There are some new format changes for this upcoming season I’m anxious to learn more about. Stay tuned and follow my social media for updates!

American Ninja Warrior Southeast Qualifying

Hey friends, the time is here! The southeast ninjas traveled to Tacoma, Washington back in April to film the qualifying rounds for this season of American Ninja Warrior, and our episode airs TONIGHT (Monday, June 21) at 9pm/8c on NBC. Tune in to see how we did!

I’m constantly amazed and grateful for the opportunity to compete and to be a part of this ninja community. If you’d like to get your kids or yourself involved in ninja obstacle training, simply search for a ninja gym in your community. There are so many gyms popping up around the country these days tailored to this kind of training, and it is hard to find a more positive and supportive group of people to be around. A good source to check out is https://www.ninjaguide.com/. Good luck!!

And if you’re in the upstate SC area, come visit us at MOTIVE School of Movement!

Challenge Yourself

I love seeing how Nature is constantly improving itself and making itself stronger by pushing through its challenges and obstacles. We are each a part of that.

The Otter Story

Just a few thoughts from the otter…

Steamroller Blues

By James Taylor

One of my fav old-school JT songs… he has recorded a few different versions over the years, and mine probably has a little bit of each. I didn’t know until recently that Elvis covered this song.

I omitted some lyrics to keep it PG-rated 🤣

#JamesTaylor #steamroller #blues #guitar #JT

Star Spangled Banner

So I recently performed the Star Spangled Banner for the first time. This was on April 9, 2021 at the start of the National Ninja League’s (NNL) Southeast Qualifier held at MOTIVE School of Movement in Greenville, SC. I’ve never done it before, but have thought about trying it, and just had to work up an arrangement that I liked on guitar.

The story behind the National Anthem has stuck with me since I first heard it way back in school. If you need a reminder, in 1814, Francis Scott Key was observing from a distance as the British Navy bombarded Fort McHenry in the Baltimore harbor (Key was actually being held by the British on one of their warships). Witnessing the assault by the British, it was nearly certain that the fort would be overtaken. But through the night, by “the rockets red glare”, Key could see that “our flag was still there”, and was ultimately still flying over the fort at “dawn’s early light”.

That story always sticks with me whenever I hear or sing it, and I can only imagine what an incredible sight that must have been.

Sometimes these days, in some places, it seems like a fad to hate on America. I’m proud that this country fought the oppression of an over-reaching government to create a system for the people and by the people, emphasizing individual liberty, freedom, rights to due process and equality of opportunity. SALUTE!

“Big Bad Bill” a la Van Halen

“Big Bad Bill” was made popular when Van Halen included their version of it on the Diver Down album. Fun fact: Eddie and Alex‘s father, Jan, played the clarinet in their recording.

Eddie Van Halen died last week at 65 years old. Van Halen was the music of my youth and I will always regret not getting to see them play in person. It was one of those few bands that I played their cassette tapes through so many times I still know what song comes next. I loved these fun songs they included on their albums.

Rock on, Eddie!

“Rescue You and Rescue Me”

“Rescue You and Rescue Me”
Copyright Bootie Cothran

Sometimes I lie awake at night, wondering the same thing as you
What if this world’s just a dream that I’m having, or what if I’m dreaming that, too? Maybe the answer is out there, somewhere after this dance
Or maybe… it’s right here in front of our eyes?

What if we saw, what if we heard
What if our lives were as loud as our words
What if we loved and what if we tried to be?
Could we rescue you and rescue me?

If we were adrift on the ocean, do you think we could make it alive?
If we can’t steer together in the worst weather, how can we ever survive?
And if we sailed to the edge of the earth, threatening to swallow our craft
Couldn’t we find a good reason to turn it around?

What if we saw, what if we heard
What if our lives were as loud as our words
What if we loved and what if we tried to be?
Could we rescue you and rescue me?

Ohhh-oh, open our eyes, this is the Light!
Ohhh-oh, what a world it could be!

If only we saw, if only we heard
If only our lives are as loud as our words
If only we love, if only we try to be
Can we rescue you and rescue me?

Freeing Myself

A few years ago our church made some news by announcing we would be open and affirming of all people, regardless of their sexual identity. There was some negative feedback from some outside sources, but the overall response and effect has been incredibly positive.

I have a lot of friends and family who are on all various points on the religious and political spectrum, and many struggle with their acceptance of the LGBTQ community. I was not always as accepting as I have become, but can say I am much happier with where I am today. If this is something you struggle with, I hope you will kindly consider some things that have been helpful to me:

First, I have found that life becomes simpler, easier and more spiritually meaningful the more theologically open-minded I am. It would be wildly arrogant of me to think I have the answers, especially pertaining to matters of God. I believe a healthy theology is one that is open and flexible, allowing room for questions, change and growth. For some, that can be a very scary step.

Second, I also find life becomes simpler, easier and more spiritually meaningful when I have an attitude of welcome instead of exclusion. I have LGBTQ friends and family, and I am simply not willing to turn my back on them because of who they feel they were created to be at the deepest level. And if I am going to be wrong on this matter, I would rather err on the side of Love.

It has been incredibly freeing to let go of my old judgements and to just be, while also allowing others just be, as well. It just feels right. It has freed me to enjoy a more joyful and content existence. It is a hands-off, “don’t tread on me” perspective, which is what we all want for ourselves, isn’t it? The instant I judge or critique your way of life, I open the door for you to do the same to mine. I must allow the same individual freedoms and graces for my neighbors that I want for myself.

Often it’s helpful to hear someone’s personal story. Last year a documentary crew filmed the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus as they traveled on a tour of the south, and they stopped at First Baptist for an incredible evening. The award-winning film will be screened on Sunday, June 9 at the Peace Center in Greenville, and the trailer is linked below. I continue to grow from that experience.

These topics can be very difficult for many people, and respectful dialogue is hard to come by these days. I’m happy to talk more, if it would be helpful. Comment respectfully here, or in a private message. If you’re interested in a biblical perspective, I can also highly recommend the book, “This I Know” by my colleague and friend, Jim Dant, linked below, as well. Best of luck in your journey!



“This, I Know” by Jim Dant